NYPD ramps up enforcement in school zones; Safety curriculum introduced

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A.J. Ross reports on the NYPD's new traffic safety program to protect students.

A new traffic safety program is underway at some city schools, which are using a catchy rap video to get students' attention and hopefully make them more aware of the rules when crossing the street.

The "Cross This Way" classroom curriculum focuses on preventing crashes and helping keep kids safe while walking city streets

Additionally, under Operation School Safe Passage, the NYPD is targeting enforcement of hazardous parking and moving violations near schools, and motorists are reminded that school speed-zone cameras are in full effect in 140 different school zones with high-crash histories.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina and other city officials announced the crackdown as part of the Vision Zero initiative, and that all fourth, fifth and sixth-grade classes will partake in the "Cross This Way" initiative.

The event was held outside PS 124 in the Park Slope/Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, where in 2004, fifth-graders Juan Angel Estrada and Victor Flores were struck and killed by a truck while walking home from school.

"We mourn every traffic fatality, and it's even more painful when children are killed," DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. "In this new school year, our partners at the NYPD are doing their critical work enforcing laws that will keep kids safe."

Focused on locations near schools, officers are paying particular attention to violations by vehicles during school arrival and dismissal times with a special focus on double parking, running red lights, disobeying traffic control devices, failure to yield, cellphone use (including texting) while driving, improper turns, obstruction of bicycle lanes, passing stopped school buses and speeding.
The curriculum, designed to be covered entirely during one classroom period, outlines a checklist of tips for kids to protect themselves, including for situations like: walking in the crosswalk with the signal; crossing at intersections with stop signs; and getting across safely if a mid-block crossing is necessary. Through the use of a playbook that recaps these scenarios, students can assess what went wrong and are encouraged to make the right choice every time they cross.
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